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Marine Simon, sustainable development and CSR project manager, tells us how Business France has succeeded in creating a network of ambassadors dedicated to the company's environmental issues, starting with a group of committed employees.
Can you introduce yourself in a few words?
Hello, my name is Marine Simon and I am in charge of the eco-responsible approach at Business France, the agency serving the internationalization of the French economy.
How important is CSR for Business France today?
The key phrase of Business France's 2023 greeting card stated "committed to an eco-responsible future" and I think that this reflects the importance that CSR has taken on in our organization. All of our departments are now committed to making sure that our businesses evolve by integrating CSR issues.
A few months ago, Business France started building a network of CSR ambassadors: the Cap Planète ambassadors. Why did you create this network and what is the role of these people today?
Cap Planète is a group of employees who initiated and contributed to the company's eco-responsible approach. This initiative initially involved employees in France, joined by colleagues in our international network. We then proposed to involve them by appointing them Cap Planète ambassadors. These people volunteered to spread the eco-responsible approach and relay the actions of the head office on this subject in their office, but also to share the good practices that they can implement at their level, adapted to local constraints. They have become key players in Business France's eco-responsible approach.
How did you build this network of ambassadors? What were the main steps?
We started by identifying people who were members of Cap Planète and who were located abroad (7%), most of them immediately accepted to become an Ambassador on this topic. They then acted as relays in their geographical area to identify their colleagues who might be interested in this role. We really wanted this to remain a voluntary investment and not be experienced as an obligation. Today, 44 of our 55 countries have an ambassador (80%).
We meet once every two months in two slots (morning and evening) to accommodate all time zones. For 2023, we plan to have a specific theme / issue for each meeting.
What are the obstacles that you have encountered (or that you may still be encountering today) in the construction and animation of this network?
The workloads are full and this role is an additional "volunteer" role for our ambassadors, so it is sometimes difficult for them to free up time, even though we guarantee a maximum commitment of 2 hours per month. The multiplicity of time zones adds an additional complexity. For example, we plan to train all the ambassadors in the Climate Mural so that they can then deploy it on their site, but it is not easy to find 3 hours in a row when all the ambassadors would be available.
Business France deployed Lakaa in April 2022 to accelerate the concrete implementation of the CSR strategy locally. Can you tell us more about how Lakaa helps the ambassador network to live and grow?
Lakaa allows us to give our ambassadors a space where they can easily find all the information they need at any time. Lakaa is a good solution to manage our time zone and time constraints. When they have a moment, our ambassadors can log in and easily find the actions they can implement, get inspired, do their own assessment or share their best practices. For my part, it allows me to have a vision of the actions deployed on all our sites and to draw up an assessment.
Do you have any positive feedback on Lakaa from the ambassadors?
I have only good feedback on the platform, its simplicity of use is what seduces our ambassadors the most.
What are the next priorities for the Cape Town ambassadors?
The priorities will be to recruit ambassadors for the orphan sites, and to enable them to present to their colleagues the mini carbon footprint that we have produced for each country, and to continue to raise awareness among their colleagues so as to keep the eco-responsible approach alive throughout the agency. In order for them to feel comfortable in this role, we have also planned to provide them with a basic training course on environmental issues.
Want to follow Business France's lead and easily engage your network of CSR ambassadors? Request a demo of Lakaa right here!